Get Your Exercise Program on Track as a Resident Physician


Gyms are open again and with all but those 4 and under eligible for safe and highly effective vaccines, 2022 is expected to bring new optimism for the health of the nation. Yet after a pandemic that lasted nearly two years, training has often been an afterthought for many Americans. The tight schedules of medical residents and fellows who work 80 hours a week make exercising even more difficult.

How can you as a resident or fellow try to get your training back on track in 2022? Here are a few tips.

The biggest hurdle for residents and fellows is simply finding the time, as shown in a November 24, 2020 study, “Fitness Habits and Barriers to Exercise During Residence Training,” published in Orthopedic journals. Of the residents surveyed who exercised, three-quarters indicated that the weather was a barrier to exercise. But for residents who found the bandwidth to exercise, there were benefits.

“Residents who exercised regularly were more likely to subjectively report that they ‘lived a healthy lifestyle’ compared to those who did not exercise regularly,” the study said. “Exercise has been reported to have beneficial effects on health, and given the importance of physical activity for overall health, physicians should not only counsel their patients on fitness habits, but also be encouraged to exercise regularly themselves. “

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Avani Patel, MD, a second-year psychiatry resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, has found that it may be helpful to tailor your training plan to your hospital location.

“Listing it as an event on your schedule is the easiest way to find time to exercise,” said WADA member Dr Patel. “Plus, make it meaningful to you. For example, get a gym membership on the way home or on the way to work.

For AMA members looking to improve their fitness, Gympass offers a range of plans that give access to thousands of gyms, studios and wellness apps, right at your fingertips. With a range of exclusively priced monthly plans starting under $ 15, WADA members can access:

  • Over 12,000 gyms and studios nationwide including Life Time, Barry’s Bootcamp, Snap Fitness and more.
  • Virtual courses broadcast live and on demand.
  • One-on-one virtual personal training sessions with certified trainers.
  • Apps supporting nutrition planning, guided workouts and more.
  • Flexible access without blackout restrictions, contracts, cancellation or initiation fees.

Learn more about pricing plans exclusive to WADA members and how to sign up. Gympass is one of the many benefits of joining WADA.

Finding time is never easy for medical residents, but one option to save time might be to remove the gym factor from the equation.

Home training can be accomplished with less equipment than ever before. The pandemic has also increased the frequency with which people exercise in their living spaces. A study by GymPass found that the number of people trying online workouts increased by 18% during the pandemic. Of those surveyed, most used YouTube to aid in their training.

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With convenience being the number one barrier to exercise for medical residents, a combination of home and gym workouts could be appealing to many. Some prefer the old-fashioned exterior.

“I use online YouTube videos all the time when it is too dark outside or the weather conditions are not ideal,” said Dr Patel. “I like to be outdoors, so I try to be active by running, swimming or biking when I can.”

Learn what helps and harms well-being during residency.


About Shirley A. Tamayo

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